New Pedigree View Tree at Family Tree DNA

Ask, and ye shall receive.


It’s great when a vendor listens to what I’m sure probably wasn’t perceived as constructive criticism.

Family Tree DNA designed a new tree some time back, but with only a Family View.  Most genealogists utilize the Pedigree View, shown above, most often.  A few months ago, genetic genealogists asked Family Tree DNA to redesign the tree and include a pedigree view.  Today, the new tree view was added to everyone’s personal page!

The pedigree view is relevant for direct line ancestors.  This screen shot is of my own tree, but this view works for any of your matches who have trees attached as well.  You can see 4 generations of ancestors at once and click to expand to the next 4 generations with the right arrow at any end-of-line ancestor.  You can also scroll or click to make the tree larger or smaller.


The Family View still works just fine, and if you want to see siblings or children of ancestors, other than your direct line, the Family View is what you’ll want to select.


Thank you, thank you, Family Tree DNA!!!  Both for listening and for the new Pedigree View tree.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

80 thoughts on “New Pedigree View Tree at Family Tree DNA

  1. Wonderful! The chrome extension was good, but this is better. Now if they would just get rid of the one person trees. Are we every satisfied?

  2. When I tried it just now it was a frustrating experience. Many of the matches that supposedly had trees were just a single person (the matchee). When I found one that had more than one person, it either stalled out with a spinner for several minutes (I finally gave up) or it presented the results but then stalled when I tried to click on a person or off-page connector. Also, without dates or places the pedigree isn’t as useful as it could be. FTDNA’s tree interface is nothing like the experience over at Ancestry looking at trees. While I agree it’s great that they added the pedigree option, I don’t think I will use it much – it’s too frustrating!

  3. I like the changes, At present, the maximum GEDcom file you accept (upload to FTDNA) is 5 meg. My family tree GEDcom file is about twice that size. Can you offer any way to upload a GEDcom file around 12 meg in size?

    • There’s no need to GEDCOM every name in your database, just those pertaining to your genetics. You can reduce your GEDCOM file size accordingly. For yDNA, you only need a male surname line. For Family Finder (autosomal DNA), you only need your most recent 7 or 8 generations starting with you. Most genealogy software will allow you to select “ancestors of …” or some such option and the number of generations. Don’t select descendants and make other selections to try and keep the file size under 5MB. If none of that works, consider just uploading your surname line and those immediately related to it (spouses and children of your surname line, etc.). If you download your GEDCOM from a website and have no home-based software to filter it, consider downloading and installing one of the many free software programs such as Ancestral Quest or Roots Magic’s free software available on their websites. Although PAF is no longer available from the LDS church, some websites still offer it. It’s useful and handy for what you want to do.

      • You will need to add some cousins and connect them to your line, at least if any of them have tested at Family Tree DNA. This is how FTDNA assigns people to your maternal or paternal sides with Family Matching. But otherwise, you’re right in terms of not needing everything in your Gedcom file. You can strip it down and add those cousin lines back in after uploading. That’s what I did.

    • Wonderful!! You don’t have to pull up 6-7 generations of *everybody* in order to see the 6th or 7th generation of just one line. THAT is a big deal. And going back to the home person is a breeze by clicking on the house. Thank you FTDNA!

  4. Except places do not show for all generations in pedigree view–and in the older generations no details at all no dates no places Still oretty useless


      • I think missing place information for old generations in my tree is a GEDCOM thing – should the file format be as UTF-8, UTF-16, ASCII or something else and what should the type for return be when you create the file?

        Yes, you can click a box and see place information for one at a time. I’d like the possibility to change the whole view between names and places. When trying to find common ancestors first I’m intrested in the places!

      • This reply is for Simo Roman (below). Sorry, but there was no “Reply” icon for that comment. You asked if your file format should be as UTF-8, UTF-16, or ASCII. UTF-8 is fine. It’s what we used when I was training people on how to use PAF when I worked in SLC, UT as a volunteer for the LDS church’s Family History Department. I don’t see a need for UTF-16. ASCII will work for most people but it eliminates the special characters used in some languages like the umlaut in German or the cedilla in French. However, file format shouldn’t affect your place missing place information. Data such as NAME, DATE, and PLAC, are all field identifiers in your GEDCOM file which is a text file easily readable using Notepad or some other text file reader. If it didn’t transfer properly, you’d need to do a bit of troubleshooting to find out why.

  5. This new Pedigree View on FTDN is so much easier to see and follow. I’ll be uploading my Gedcom to all those family members that I have tested on FTDNA. In fact, I just uploaded my first one and it was very easy to add it. Thanks for the thumbs up!

  6. Don’t you just LOVE how FTDNA listens to it’s members and Project Admins??? I have only ever received responses from them when I address a difficulty and present a possible solution and why it would help. No help or response from the other labs even as a Beta Tester. This is huge, now I can put one online and also read others matches!

  7. Roberta, I’m wondering if you or any other genetic genealogist buddies have any power with FTDNA. Back in July when you first announced the new maternal/paternal “bucket” tool, I jumped right on it. Did the same thing with the five other tests I manage. Everything was cool…. except mine! It never has allowed me access to my tree since July. I have deleted and reloaded several times. I have had contact with FTDNA on six occasions and am told the engineers just don’t know how to fix it. I even suggested taking the whole thing down and creating a new account. Was told that wouldn’t work. They just keep apologizing and saying they are a small company and will just keep working to fix it. Said they had others with the same trouble. Just bizarre, and I’m simply at their mercy. Wondering if any of your readers are some of these poor souls like me. Enough boo-hoo from me. Roberta, I don’t know what we would do without you. Grateful for all you do for us.

  8. Have not tried the new Pedigree part yet. FTDNA does a nice job on their Y-DNA and PROJECTS! However I think their tree looks like something put together by a trainee programmer. ,its so pitifully slow you can see the program sitting try to think what to do next! has issues of their own but they are loo miles ahead of FTDNA on the Tree program (I dont mean the circles) just basic pull up a tree view it,edit it,add to it,etc much,much better.

  9. I had been one requesting a pedigree view and this is great. Should be much easier to look for ancestors in common with this view.

    Now if they will fix the CSV/Excel file save with a filter applied. I just tried the save with 20 folks in the filter and got all 1670 folks in the CSV file. A real pain if you are trying to get filtered lists like you used to be able to before the FF change.

    The other major problem is if you search for an individual and then do an ICW, you only get folks that may be in the search list, not from all the matches. I can see doing a filter again after doing the ICW and keeping the ICW active, but not limiting the ICW to only those in the filter you used to find the person. There are several other bugs that also cropped in with the FF change back when, but few of them have been fixed. I am glad to see the pedigree form — a big Plus.

    • You can create one yourself at Family Tree DNA by clicking on the link on your main page and building your tree. You can also hire a genealogist to do it for you in software and upload I to Family Tree DNA, or do it yourself. They accept all Gedcom files which is the standard tree transfer protocol.

  10. Roberta, What a great blog, I have learned a great deal.
    If FTDNA are still being kind would they consider increasing the number of people you can compare in the chromosome browser; five is good but more would be better.

  11. Oh! Nice change! I makes the large trees much easier to read.

    As I understand it, whoever made the first version, they really had a grade school kind of family tree in mind. They definitely didn’t realize the customers would be dealing with over ten generations trees. In grade school trees, it makes sense to center the entries around a picture and have email, but for big trees were most people don’t have a picture, let alone an email…

    In big trees, It’s better to center the info around a name, which allow a one glimpse view around the tree. Although I still like Ancestry’s tree better as we keep the start of the tree visible as the generations unfold, with the new FTDNA tree, we lose the count of how many generations.

    As you said, the programmers probably never knew what was wrong with the first tree, but at least it’s fixed. ^__^

    • I’ll have to check again, but I’m pretty sure if you click on the DNA boxes surrounding the person if they have tested, that information is provided. Or do you mean if lines you haven’t directly tested but obtained from others?

      • I mean the later, I should have a field to add by hand the haplogroups I find in the various projects. Also, my mt-DNA haplogroup should appear in the info of the other persons in my mt-DNA line. I’m H2a1, of course, my maternal grand-mother’s maternal’s grand-mother was also H2a1.

  12. I have also been experiencing spinning and “hanging” quite a lot lately. Sometimes I have to log off and start again. I also agree that the one-person trees are very frustrating! It also suddenly became clear to me that many people might not have their trees in FTDNA because they didn’t know that they could. I recently contacted a match and asked if he had a GEDCOM to upload to FTDNA so I could check out our connection and he replied that he didn’t know that he could do that. I think that it would be nice if FTDNA sent out a Newsletter alerting to new features. I only know by reading your blog. Thanks for all the information BTW!

  13. Alleluja! I stopped using FTDNA after they introduced the Family mode only Tree. I found it IMPOSSIBLE to use, and told them so, but they rejected my criticism. I concentrated on my 23andMe and esp. on my AncestryDNA matches. So, many thanks for this good news, that the Ancestral Mode has been reintroduced by FTDNA! I shall once again be busy with my FTDNA account.

  14. Certainly a step in the right direction but extremely frustrating to use. If the person does not have their home person correct you have to start all over. It can take several minutes to look at each branch whereas Ancestry leaves the base tree and lets you look at each branch without starting over.

      • At Ancestry, the tree fold and unfold as you click on new branches, but the base of the tree stay visible. Meaning, we start with generations 1 to 5, then add 6 to 9 and 10 to 14, but we never lose the generations 1 to 5’s boxes. We can pan the tree to see the beginning of the tree at any given moment. At FTDNA, to load the page for generation 5 to 9, we lose the boxes of generations 1 to 4 and need to click on the home icon to see them again. But then,we will lose the later generations boxes.

        Which mean, at Ancestry, we can see, say, 20 generations in a row if we pan around the tree. At FTDNA, we can only see 5 generations at any given time and need to reload our way back and forth to see the a 20 generations line.

  15. Thank you for letting us know about the new tree at FTDNA! I stopped looking at trees there because it was so frustrating and time-consuming because of the structure of the trees and the long wait times.

    Now that more of us are using genetic genealogy, I would like to have an online resource where we could record DNA triangulations and their identifications with individuals in our family trees.

  16. It is still a big waste of time watching the spinning wheel. One would think that FTDNA would invest more resources into the tree software.

  17. Hello, can someone answer a question about DNA  centimorgans?   What is typically the measurement of a full blood sibling?   1700-2500?  If someone has a sibling at 1550 cM, is that indicative of a half sibling?    Thank you so much for your help, Donna Winchell 

    Sent from my Verizon 4G LTE smartphone

      • Still spinning for me. Moreover, I can’t seem to be able to upload pictures in the last couple of days. It just gets stuck on “uploading” and stays there. One time I did manage to finally upload a picture but then it distorted it totally out of proportion and blew it up to where only a corner of the background shows, nothing else.

          • When you say that it’s spinning, do you mean it spins for a while and then loads? If so, how long? Or do you mean it spins forever and never loads? I just experienced the same issue with a picture – not loading.

          • It seems to spin “forever”, i.e., I switch tabs and work on something else and when I come back 15-20 minutes later it is still spinning. At which point I usually hit the “reload” button and sometimes it “snaps out of it” but more often than not, it just continues to spin. The trouble with uploading images has only appeared in the last couple of days. I had never experienced any problems with this feature before.

            The problem now is, that there is no feature to remove the bad image so that I can try to upload a new one. The only way that I see that I can remove the bad image is to remove or delete the person altogether and start again. The problem with this is that this is not an “end of the line” person, and deleting the person will no doubt mess up all the ancestors who come before.

          • That’s what happens for me too. Sometimes it can be a network path issue where some people are affected and some aren’t depending on the route their ISP takes to get to the server. (Sorry, I’m such a techie geek)

  18. It it good to have the Pedigree view but I noticed a problem with it. You can navigate up the tree by clicking on the > arrows, but when you try to navigate back down the way you went up, it goes down the wrong branch i.e. it picks the wrong child and in my case it cannot go down because there is no information for that child. The only way out of this is to click the Home icon.

    • That doesn’t happen with my tree. But in my tree, I entered my direct line first, then other children, so I wonder if it’s picking the child that is first in the list? Do think this might be a possibility based on how you entered your lines or if you uploaded your gedcom? I only uploaded the direct line Gedcom and added the rest. Also, which browser are you using and what kind of a system?

      • Good questions, Roberta. I did some more investigating, The situation seems to be the same whether I use Firefox or Chrome. However I found out that I get the problem with my sister’s kit but not with mine. The difference is that for my kit I only uploaded direct ancestors but with my sister’s I uploaded a gedcom that included siblings. For that kit if I try to go down the tree it appears to pick the child who appears at the extreme left in the Family View, which is not the first born child.
        The gedcoms were created by Reunion and then uploaded.

  19. Roberta,

    I think you might be very interested in Erik’s work and the App he’s using. Note, I’m one of your followers.

    Best regards,



  20. I’m afraid I can’t share your enthusiasm for the new pedigree display. The old view provided much more information at a glance. With the old pedigree view I could see up to 10 generations with dates and locations allowing me to quickly scan for families in the same place and times as my known families. Now I can only see four generations at a time and have to click on each individual line to go farther back. When trying to look for a link with a 5th or 6th cousin that might be through that missing maiden name you have been trying to find, the old view was much better.

      • I agree with Ronnie. To be able to see multiple generations across multiple lines all at once was very useful. I’ve found that if I click family view when I’m halfway up a line I can see more generations, but not all of them and only in one line. If I do a general search for a particular name I may be directed to a person’s tree, but the name may not appear in the four generations on view. I am then faced with tracing my way up each line until I find the name or doing a search within that tree. I may then find the name but, again, it is located within a 4 generation range and the connection to the home person may not be obvious. Maybe I’m missing something!

  21. I just need to vent on a related issue. I do agree with the new pedigree form — it is great. However, they have now added a disaster to the “known relationships” in FF that they now call “linked relationships.” When you click the relationships button to add one, you no longer get a drop down list for selecting the relationship (or a confirm button if someone selected you). Instead, it takes you to the family tree screen and asks you to drag and drop the person. I maintain my family tree as ancestors only, except of the addition of close relatives. For one 3C1R person, I just had to spend about 10 mins adding tree folks to the family tree so that I could drag him over to add to the family tree in order to have the relationship show up in FF (what used to be about 10 secs of work). I really do not want to clutter up the family view with ALL of my distant relatives in order to add their relationship. I can see that some folks might, but I just don’t want to clutter up the view any more than it is.

    Also, I had to go back to the Family Tree in the dashboard to enter the extra names. When I tried from the screen the linked relationships button takes you to, I was not able to add other individuals. I find the extra work to force me to add folks into my family view in order to list their relationship as totally unacceptable. I have told ftDNA, but am interested in the opinions of others. If find the change to be very annoying and not filling in FF is a useful way.

    • I have a related problem. While adding relatives to link, I attached someone incorrectly. I can’t figure out how to delete her, so that I can add her correctly. There appears to be a “delete” button at the top of the screen, but I’m unable to get to it. I really DON’T want to have to delete the whole tree and put the Gedcom in again!

  22. Roberta,
    I wish there was a way to reply to a specific comment. Above, on October 13, 2016 at 5:13 pm, you said, “I really miss PAF.” Like you, I actively use RootsMagic as my main PC-based genealogy software but I have Legacy, Ancestral Quest, Family Tree Maker 2012, and PAF all installed on my machine. I use them all from time to time just to see the differences. PAF I use mostly for speed and convenience. And although it’s no longer maintained and out of date, it’s still quite handy.
    Since you have so much “pull” in the genealogy community, you ought to contact Bruce Buzbee and tell him what you liked about PAF, also mention any changes you’d like to see in the way RootsMagic handles DNA data. He listens and he writes excellent software. I’ve often wondered if he couldn’t come up with a PAF look-alike, maybe working in concert with Gaylon Findlay who wrote PAF 5, that could open our RootsMagic database.

    Bruce could call it “RootsMagic-LITE” or something. It could be a cut-down version that has no editing capability, just really fast viewing of essential data in a PAF-like format. Would that work? I’ve met them both. Bruce and Gaylon are both nice guys. I’ll bet they’d consider your proposal and the rest of us PAF lovers out there would really appreciate such a tool.

    • I finally bought the full Legacy (I had the free Legacy, AQ, and Rootsmagic installed along with PAF5). My comments have a bit to do with Legacy: It has a lot of features and is nice in that way. However, I have 3 aspects that I find annoying compared to PAF5 (I bought Legacy because my brother also did on sale). The first is that you can not move through your tree with the keyboard (at least I haven’t figured out how). With PAF you could simply use the arrow keys to move through the tree and not need the mouse. In Legacy, I find you have to use the mouse to move through the tree. 2. I find entry with sources and such a lot more work in Legacy, again requiring the mouse to get to the menu (yes, I may have just not found the shortcut — but did not see any in the help). 3. I have found the filtering functions in Legacy to be very restrictive compared to PAF. I was trying to create a male only GEDCOM with a given surname in Legacy and could not figure out how. It was easy in PAF with the advanced filter. I have gotten annoyed enough, I am back to PAF as my main program.

      I have already mentioned earlier about my displeasure in ftDNA of removing the known relationships for the linked relationships. That requires entering a full tree, not just ancestors that is my normal mode. I have gotten over the ICW issue after I search for someone (check the person, turn off the filter, and select the ICW button). The site still does not create a CSV file for only those within the current filter. If you create a filter, the CSV file is of ALL matches — removing a very useful feature that used to be part of ftDNA.

      I feel I am being a bit repetitive, but it might be worth reminding folks of some of these issues.

Leave a Reply